This blog has discussed cases against Georgia’s Division of Family and Child Services (DFCS) before (see previous blog here). Our Atlanta wrongful death lawyers recently read about yet another tragic case involving a child, a 16-year-old disabled girl named Markea, who died under tragic circumstances, and under watch of the department that is supposed to protect child welfare in our state.
Markea’s mother hated her, and her grandmother said she did not know why Ebony Berry had so much hatred for her daughter, saying, “She punished her. She hated her daughter.” Markea died of starvation in 2012, and her mother is in Cobb County Jail charged with the crime. At a hearing on the case of her death, investigators said Markea weighed less than 50 pounds. Cobb County Detective Christopher Twiggs said of her, “I could see most of the bones in her body. There was hardly any muscle mass left. Just a skeleton with skin is the way I could best describe it.”
There were worrisome reports from Michigan’s DFCS for the years 1999 to 2004, but they were incomplete and Georgia DFCS did not followed up on them. The State of Georgia has a 150 page case file on Markea, which chronicles the long-term abuse she suffered. As early as 2005, a DFCS caseworker found her isolated and unfed. The case file was started in 2009. Even from that time, the case file said she was “very thin” and caseworker was concerned she was not being fed. Markea, who was 14 years old at the time, was found in 2010 hiding at a Wal-Mart, afraid to go home. She told investigators she often went there to sleep. She said she’d rather stay at Wal-Mart than go home because she was a burden to her mother. At that time, DFCS investigated but took no further action because Ebony Berry would not cooperate. In June 2012, Ebony Berry called 911 saying her daughter was not responsive. Detectives found that she had been starved and charged her mother with murder.
Now the administrator of Markea’s estate has filed a $1 million lawsuit against DFCS for wrongful death. The lawsuit is seven pages showing all the ways DFCS failed Markea. This includes an affidavit from a veteran social worker outlining missteps and clear red flags, constituting negligence in her opinion, and that “a proper DFCS investigation is likely to have prevented Markea Berry’s death by starvation.”
Atlanta Wrongful Death Attorneys
If a loved one has died unnecessarily due to the negligent conduct of another, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. To discuss any steps to move forward with legal options in your case, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.